College Football Week 6 Viewing and Betting Guide
Northwestern (+1.5) at Penn State
The Wildcats have been carrying the Big-10 flag the past month with three wins over FBS non-conference opponents. They have wins over Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College.
What worries me about picking Northwestern at Penn State is that the Wildcats’ lone win on the road was a one-point victory over Syracuse in the “Prose Bowl.” Couple that with a red hot Penn State squad that has won three games in a row in dominating fashion and this has the makeup of a close, entertaining game.
So who do you pick? The team on fire or the consistent team? I’m going to side with Northwestern because of their solid rushing attack, ranking 9th in the nation. Venric Mark averages 5.3 yards a carry and has 538 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.
Arkansas at Auburn (-8.5)
Wow is Arkansas football bad right now. Their interim coach, John L. Smith, just did the math and is $40 million in debt, not the $25 million he reported earlier. There could be a possible change at the athletic department position and are 116th in the nation in rush points against per game.
Auburn on the other hand played LSU well two weeks ago and, unlike Arkansas, is at least functioning on both sides of the ball.
Virginia Tech (+6) at North Carolina
What has happened to Beamer ball? The Hokies were never well known for offense unless Michael Vick was under center, but this year is a slight embarrassment. They are 70th in passing yards and 79th in rushing yards. They are 0-2 against Big East competition and are losing the turnover battle this season.
North Carolina is 3-2 but their wins are against Elon, East Carolina, and Idaho. Not a murderer’s row by any means. Their losses are to Wake Forest and Louisville. The Tar Heels are 12th in points for and 19th in points against, but the schedule tells the biggest part of the story.
In the wild ACC nothing is guaranteed. I’d rather take the points in a game where neither team is very impressive. North Carolina could easily prove me wrong, and they are going all out with their military game with star spangled logos on the field and helmets.
Arizona (+9) at Stanford
Stanford is fresh off a surprising loss to Washington and three weeks removed from upsetting second-ranked USC. For some reason the Cardinal deviated from their winning formula and tried to throw the ball. Nunes had 37 pass attempts and Taylor had only 21 carries.
Stanford and Arizona are polar opposites on pass rush. Stanford sacked Keith Price many times and demolished Matt Barkley. In contrast, Arizona has zero hurries so far this season.
One of the things that separates Stanford from Oregon is that Oregon is just too fast. Stanford is big up front but lacks speed. I think Arizona, led by Matt Scott, will be effective and keep the game close, but Stanford will win.
Georgia Tech at Clemson (-10.5)
Tajh Boyd is most likely one game away from being the school’s all-time touchdown leader. He has 49, good for being tied with Charlie Whitehurst, and will surely pass that total against Georgia Tech’s defense.
The Yellow Jackets are on a two-game losing streak. They lost to Miami in overtime after blowing the game in the fourth quarter. Last week the Jackets lost to Middle Tennessee 49-28, in a game that looked even more lopsided than the score indicates.
Clemson just has too many weapons. While this is a prime candidate for a Clemsoning, the Tigers should execute and cover the points at home.
Oklahoma at Texas Tech (+6)
It’s a real gamble to take Texas Tech here. They are 5th in the nation in points against, 11th in points for, and 7th in passing yards. What has created these crazy stats is a 4-0 schedule against Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico, and Iowa State. Now they host Oklahoma who has wins over UTEP and Florida A&M, but a loss to Kansas State at home.
Landry Jones has been a question mark this year. A few years ago he was a future number one overall pick, but now he’s decidedly average. The Sooners are putting up yards but also not scoring at an elite level for a team that runs as fast an offense as they do.
Lubbock is a weird place to play and I think the Sooners are still struggling a little from their loss to Kansas State. I like Texas Tech to at least cover.
LSU at Florida (+3)
College Gameday is in Gainesville for this one, as they should be. This game has been one of the most exciting for five years now. The Mad Hatter can pull out a win at any time, but nobody knows when it will happen, just that there is a chance of it happening.
LSU is baffling this year especially. They struggle to beat Auburn and win by 2, but then are down at one point to Towson last week. Their defense is dominant but Zach Mettenberger is supposed to be playing better than this and he has serious turnover issues.
Jeff Driskel for Florida finally gives some stability to the position and a good fit. He’s not a square peg in a round hole player. Since the game over Texas A&M the Gatos have seemed to figure it out, scoring 37 and 38 in back to back weeks.
The greatest advantage in this game comes when the Gators are on defense in the Swamp. They can get to the quarterback and cause turnovers. The defense has been spectacular the last few years and now they have an offense that can take advantage of good field position.
Michigan at Purdue (+3)
Laugh now, but I really like this Purdue team. They are 3-1. The three wins are against weak competition but I think the best barometer of how good a team the Boilermakers are is through their 3-point loss to Notre Dame. No one has played the Fighting Irish that close and the game was in South Bend.
Michigan has struggled in their games so far. They got crushed by Alabama and committed a ton of turnovers in a 13-6 loss to Notre Dame. They gave up 25 points and only won by 6 against Air Force. It is a team with problems and it slightly confirms my opinion that they caught up a lot of breaks last year, a kind of one hit wonder.
Purdue is just a sneaky team. They rush and pass well, they score points, and have an “it” factor for big games, especially at home. Remember, they beat Ohio State last year at home.
Washington State at Oregon State (-16)
This is my vote of confidence for the Beavers. If I wasn’t sure about them I would have just flat-out not picked this game. They get Washington State at home a week after they beat Arizona in a close one in the desert.
Washington State is coming off a devastating loss where Oregon exploded for points in the third quarter after the Cougars had a good second quarter to keep the game close. Their passing has been inconsistent so far this year but it seems like they are finally finding their groove.
The Beaver’s defense is based off staying Vanilla and adjusting to other offenses. They are a disciplined defense with guys who do their job and those are the best types of defenses against spread to pass and air raid teams like Washington State.
Georgia (+1) at South Carolina
I keep going back and forth on this game. South Carolina has the game at home but Georgia has the better quarterback. Both these teams are just so “SEC” it is delightful and I want to cheer for the Old Head Ball Coach.
Georgia has proven they have a great defense when they placed a Missouri team who was playing better a couple weeks ago. They showed they have a great offense when they outshot Tennessee with 51 points.
The toughest game South Carolina has played so far is Missouri, and that was a 31-10 win. Marcus Lattimore is still a running force even though he lacks some of the power from before his knee injury and Connor Shaw has been very effective at quarterback in the last two weeks, only throwing 4 total incomplete passes.
I like how Georgia has won in a shootout and a close game. I like how they have dealt with some serious adversity and I think the offensive advantage they have is greater than the offensive advantage South Carolina has.
West Virginia (+7) at Texas
West Virginia just lit up Baylor for 70 points, but also gave up 63. Texas’ offense exploded under David Ash against Oklahoma State for 41 points, but gave up 36 points. Each team’s starting running back is out for this week’s game.
Texas’ defense was supposed to be a revolution in the Big-12, on the same caliber as the SEC. Maybe they are but they haven’t proved it yet. The biggest errors last Saturday was tackling in space, and that is something that demolished Baylor as Tavon Austin was able to take five-yard catches for fifty yards and a score.
West Virginia has serious questions on defense. Congratulations for dropping 70, but the idea of giving up 63 to anybody has to make you sick. No matter what fans say, they are worried about the 63.
Ultimately this comes down to the matchup. Texas’ defense is not as well prepared for West Virginia’s offense as West Virginia’s defense is prepared for Texas’ offense. This will probably be the most entertaining game for the weekend for the rest of the country and I personally can’t wait.
Miami at Notre Dame (-14)
The Hurricanes are looking for the primetime victory of the Al Golden era. Miami has struggled on the road so far this year, giving up 32 to Boston College, 52 to Kansas State, and 36 to Georgia. Miami is giving up 33.4 points per game.
Notre Dame probably has the matchup advantage. After being well below average on defense, they have gotten all of their wins through solid defense. Manti Te’o has been everywhere on a defense that creates turnovers and short fields for the offense.
The quarterback battle continues to be an issue as Everett Golson can apparently do no wrong in practice but needs to be relieved by Tommy Rees in the second half of big games. Brian Kelly has stood by Golson, but eventually, Golson is going to need to produce in a huge game.
In order for Miami to win, quarterback Stephen Morris is going to have to kill it and play mistake free football. I don’t think Miami will be able to last in the second half after a couple of turnovers in front of Touchdown Jesus.
Nebraska at Ohio State (-3)
It is crazy to think how the Big Ten has evolved in just a few years. The three best quarterbacks in the league are known for their running abilities and not their throwing abilities. Taylor Martinez and Braxton Miller will be carrying the torch once Denard Robinson graduates. (Whenever that is)
Braxton Miller is morphing in to the dream quarterback for Urban Meyer. He has breakaway speed and the agility to make tacklers miss, a difference in style from Tebow who would just run over people and fall forward for the extra yard.
Taylor Martinez looks great against weaker competition, but in both his game against UCLA and Wisconsin his completion percentage dropped to the 50’s in terms of completion percentage. In the horseshoe he’s going to need to be effective and put points on the board.
While Ohio State is great in all categories but amazing in nothing, Nebraska has an elite rushing attack but the passing is still held back. If Martinez gets in to a rhythm throwing the ball, then this will be close all the way through. My money is on Ohio State though to cover.
UCLA (-3) at Cal
Cal is having their worst start in a long time. Their lone win is a 19-point victory over Southern Utah. Their losses are to Nevada at home, at Ohio State, at USC, and at home to Arizona State.
Zach Maynard is struggling behind a line that appears to have given up hope and takes it as a moral victory when only five sacks are made a game. Jeff Tedford has to be on the hot seat. You can’t let something good get in the way of something great and maybe it is time for the school to consider taking a chance on a coach who may not be proven but has potential. The team needs some potential.
UCLA has been executing better this year than they ever did under Neuheisel. The recruiting classes made an easy transition for Jim Mora, whose only loss is to a top-15 Oregon State squad, currently surprising everyone.
Part of me thinks that Cal is on the verge of giving up this year. Their teams tend to struggle with adversity, letting a win beat them a few weeks in a row. UCLA has a rushing attack that will wear down the defense and expect a few sacks early, allowing the Bruins to jump to an early lead.